Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice was not happy with the calls – or lack thereof – in tonight’s game, and he let referee Francois St. Laurent know about it. St. Laurent showed him to the door.
Maurice’s frustrations began after a pair of unpenalized hits by Tampa’s Anton Stralman.
Stralman delivered what looked like a knee-on-knee hit to Winnipeg Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers. Later in the second period, the Lightning defensmen caught Winnipeg’s Bryan Little with an elbow to the head.
(For what it’s worth, Little was in a vulnerable position and off-balance. Little’s body position, specifically that of his head, contributed to the hit, which will likely save Stralman from facing supplemental discipline for the hit. Philadelphia’s Radko Gudas avoided suspension on a similar play.)
Little was injured on the play and had to be helped on the ice.
Stralman was jumped by Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler. Wheeler was given four minutes for roughing, with Stralman getting two for the altercation. Maurice, who’d already shared his displeasure after the Ehlers hit, unloaded on referee Francois St. Laurent. The Jets coach was hit with a bench minor.
When the teams returned from the second intermission, Maurice resumed his tirade. St. Laurent decided he’d heard enough, and ejected Maurice from the game.
Maurice was asked after the game about the incident, particularly about referee Francois St. Laurent laughing after the ejection. He declined to comment specifically, saying only, “I think that would then have been consistent with their overall demeanor regarding the whole incident. That’s fair.”
St. Laurent appeared to have an exchange with a player on the ice prior to the faceoff.
St. Laurent missed a chunk of time earlier this season, presumably due to injury. He returned to NHL action earlier this month.
Maurice is the second coach ejected in the past week. Florida head coach Gerard Gallant was thrown out of Saturday’s game against the Nashville Predators.